First loaf results - more questions

hitz333

I JUST discovered this website yesterday, and I am a true beginner when it comes to bread baking (unless you count pizza). I'm on my second starter, started with dry yeast, and it's about a week and a half old. Today I made my first sourdough loaf, following instructions from the Fields of Greens cookbook. I mixed my starter with warm water, flour, salt (I think it was about 5 oz starter, 1 c 3 oz water, 3½ c flour, and ¾ tsp salt), kneaded for 10 minutes, and let rise overnight. In the morning I kneaded it VERY lightly before shaping it into a loaf (which was NOT easy as I was going for a batard and only came close to the right shape). I then set it on a floured surface and covered it with a damp towel to rise again for 2-3 hours. The directions were to then move the loaf to the baking sheet, slash the top, and bake. But when I went to touch the "loaf," it had spread a little and was very very stretchy. Bubbles were ballooning up as I was trying to handle it. I ended up just kind of folding it under itself until it was both in my hands and somewhat loaf shaped. I then baked on my stone per instructions. I think it looks pretty good other than the odd overall shape but my eye is very untrained. Taste is somewhat bland but my starter is still new...

So my two questions: 1) Why did my loaf become a blob during the second rise? and 2) My first starter I ended up throwing out when it was about 2 months old because to me it smelled like wet interior paint. Color on it was fine and I assumed it was just starting to develop more of a sourness but I didn't like the smell/taste (at the time I only used it for biscuits). Was it bad or not?

Any other advice anyone can give based off the picture or anything would be greatly appreciated!

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